10 Oct 2018 Story Chemicals & waste

Fighting contraband pesticides

UN Environment’s Chemicals and Health branch is helping Ukraine crack down on the illegal trafficking of counterfeit pesticides.

As is often the case with counterfeit goods, imitation pesticides – which may pose even more risks to people and the environment than certified ones – are cheap to make and lucrative. Of the 100,000 tonnes of the chemicals consumed in Ukraine each year, 25 per cent are estimated to be illicit, whether produced locally or imported.

Ukraine is party to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions hosted by UN Environment. The project titled ‘Strengthening the Enforcement of the Rotterdam Convention in Ukraine and Building Capacity to Counteract Illegal Trafficking of Chemicals' was launched in 2017 and is helping the country fulfil several of its obligations, including those towards the Rotterdam Convention.

UN Environment’s Special Programme on Institutional Strengthening for Chemicals and Waste Management is providing financial support to Ukraine in developing and enforcing a national policy to inform other countries on whether shipments of listed hazardous chemicals would be accepted, in line with the Convention’s principle of prior informed consent. Capacity building is also reinforced with a view to tackling illegal pesticide trafficking as it relates to the work on illegal international traffic, which is one of the five themes of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, whose Secretariat is hosted by UN Environment.

Strategies for detecting and preventing illicit pesticides include custom risk analyses, applying the “Know Your Customer” principle, and capacity building for authorities and other stakeholders. However, most of these approaches are yet to be introduced in Ukraine. Political instability and an economic downturn have weakened the management of chemicals in the country.

 The project is led by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, and supported by Green Cross Switzerland and the International Centre for Environmental Conflictology and Safety, among others.

October 2018 project update

Since the establishment of the project, Ukraine has been active in achieving the objectives of the project. The milestones that have been accomplished include:

  • Holding the Special Programme inception workshop for the benefit or relevant stakeholders to present the project activities and to discuss the current status of implementation of the Rotterdam Convention in Ukraine as well as the issue of illegal pesticides.
  • Establishing and holding the first meeting of the working group on the Rotterdam convention. The group discussed gaps in implementation of the Rotterdam Convention in Ukraine and practical measures to address them, particularly setting up an inter-sectoral working group.
  • Holding a training of trainers workshop on the Rotterdam Convention and Illegal Trafficking of Pesticides. The main objectives of the meeting were a) to discuss key issues of implementation of the Rotterdam Convention in Ukraine, and the trans-border transportation of illegal pesticides; b) to provide training on methodological approaches to teaching the afore-mentioned topics; and c) to agree on the project’s next steps.
  • Developing a communication strategy on institutional strengthening and capacity building campaign to set up three centres of assistance to support farmers who suffered from the use of counterfeit pesticides.
  • A training workshop on the prevention of illegal trafficking of pesticides was held in the city of Uzhgorod on 24 – 25 May 2018. The main purpose of the seminar was to analyze the current situation with countering illegal pesticides and illegal trafficking of chemicals across borders. Participants also discussed the existing gaps in communication between the counterparts and international experience in terms of successful fight against the mentioned violations.